It wasn't long ago fans worried that Rusev was on his way out of the WWE. With speculation swirling he had asked for his release from the company, it appeared WWE had nothing of note for him to do and his popularity was going downhill, Rusev becoming just another wasted talent.
Then WWE stumbled upon something that no one thought would ever work. In what was a thrown together team, Rusev paired with Aiden English and conducted a segment were Rusev was given keys to his native homeland and the day was to be forever known as "Rusev Day". The segment was well-delivered, funny and it struck a chord with the WWE Universe.
Ready to get behind Rusev and English, fans got louder. The duo's popularity was undeniable and WWE decided to let Rusev run with the idea that every day was Rusev Day and fans have eaten it up. The former "Bulgarian Brute" is now more popular than ever and WWE seems to be behind pushing him until the character flops.
Recent news suggests that may not be for some time. One of the ways WWE decides which wrestlers to push or not push is merchandise sales. While a few exceptions exist (see Finn Balor), if a talent sells a ton of merch, they're usually deemed bankable and good things are coming. Rusev is not only selling a boatload of merchandise, his "Rusev Day" shirts are now selling more than anyone.
The new “Happy Rusev Day” shirts are sold out at the live events and on the WWE Shop website. WWEShop.com is sold out of every shirt men’s shirt and it’s the No. 1 selling item on the site. Rusev has been pedaling his merchandise on social media and the plan has worked. He's now a huge babyface in the company and WWE is going to ride this Rusev train into 2018.
To give a comparison, the Top 5 selling items on WWEShop.com are:
1) Rusev “Happy Rusev Day” Authentic T-Shirt2) AJ Styles “The One Who Gets it Done” Special Edition T-Shirt3) The Usos “Down Since Day One Ish” Authentic T-Shirt4) AJ Styles “Untouchable” Authentic T-Shirt5) Stone Cold Steve Austin “Santa Stunner” Holiday T-Shirt
This is great news for Rusev and the WWE. Every once and a while, the company stumbles onto something big. It happened with New Day and it looks like "Rusev Day" might be the next big thing. If WWE has anything to say about it, every day will be Rusev Day.